Backstage with The Rascals

No Lies Radio Music – By Teri Perticone – Saturday May 30, 2020

The Rascals – Good Lovin’

The Rascals (initially known as The Young Rascals) were an American rock band, formed in Garfield, New Jersey in 1965. Between 1966 and 1968 the New Jersey act reached the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 with nine singles, including the #1s “Good Lovin'” (1966), “Groovin'” (1967), and “People Got to Be Free” (1968), as well as big radio hits such as the much-covered “How Can I Be Sure?” (#4 1967) and “A Beautiful Morning” (#3 1968), plus another critical favorite “A Girl Like You” (#10 1967). The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.[1]


Eddie Brigati (vocals), Felix Cavaliere (keyboard, vocals),[2] Gene Cornish (guitar) and Dino Danelli (drums) started the band in Brigati and Danelli’s hometown of Garfield, New Jersey. Brigati, Cavaliere, and Cornish had previously been members of Joey Dee and the Starliters.[3] Eddie’s brother, David Brigati, an original Starliter, helped arrange the vocal harmonies and sang backgrounds on many of the group’s recordings (informally earning the designation as the “fifth Rascal”). When Atlantic Records signed them, they discovered that another group, Borrah Minnevitch’s and Johnny Puleo’s ‘Harmonica Rascals’, objected to their release of records under the name ‘The Rascals’. To avoid conflict, manager Sid Bernstein decided to rename the group ‘The Young Rascals’.

The band’s songwriting team of Eddie Brigati and Cavaliere then began providing most of their songs, and the hits kept coming for two years. Their immediate follow-ups to “Good Lovin'”, including “You Better Run” (1966; covered in 1980 by Pat Benatar) and “Come On Up” were only modest hits. “(I’ve Been) Lonely Too Long” (1967) did better, and “Groovin'”[4] (#1 US/Canada, 1967) returned them to the top of the charts. They reeled off a succession of top 20 US hits, including “A Girl Like You” (1967), “How Can I Be Sure” (1967), “It’s Wonderful” (1968), and “A Beautiful Morning” (1968). The band was exceptionally popular in Canada where “A Girl Like You”, “How Can I Be Sure?” and “A Beautiful Morning” all reached #1. But they struggled in the UK, where they only twice reached the top 75, with “Groovin'” (#8) and “A Girl Like You” (#35). The band would bill themselves as the Young Rascals for the last time with the single release of “It’s Wonderful”; they were known thence forwards as simply ‘the Rascals’.

The Rascals – It’s A Beautiful Morning

Bruce Eder, writing for AllMusic, rates the band’s 1967 album Groovin’ as their best, noting the record’s soulful core and innovative use of jazz and Latin instrumental arrangements. 1968’s Once Upon A Dream was the first Rascals album designed from conception as an album, rather than as a vehicle to package their singles (eight of Groovin”s eleven songs had been released as single A or B sides, most in advance of the album). Once Upon a Dream, which peaked at #9 on the album charts, contained the single “It’s Wonderful” plus many other strong songs, including “Easy Rollin’,” “Rainy Day,” “My World,” and the title track. Perhaps understandably, the album’s song “My Hawaii” became a top of the charts hit in Hawaii.


The Rascals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on May 6, 1997. Steve Van Zandt gave the induction speech and presented the award. For the first time in years, all four original members appeared together. For their jam session (including David Brigati), they performed “Good Lovin'”, “Groovin'”, “How Can I Be Sure?”, and “People Got To Be Free”.[10]

Young Rascals – How Can I Be Sure (1967)

In 2005 The Rascals were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

In August 2007 the Rascals’ catalog of Atlantic Records albums was re-released by Atlantic Records affiliate Rhino Records.

On June 18, 2009, Eddie Brigati and Felix Cavaliere were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame at a ceremony in New York City.

The Young Rascals – Groovin’

Once Upon a Dream reunion

The group’s original lineup reunited for their first public performances in over 40 years with The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream, a combination concert/theatrical event that was produced and directed by Steven Van Zandt and Maureen Van Zandt with lighting/projection by Marc Brickman. In addition to the concert experience, the history of The Rascals, and the history of the 1960s through their music, is a combination of interviews with the four Rascals, filmed scenes of actors enacting key moments in the band’s history, news footage, and archival footage of the band. The show originally ran for six performances in December 2012 at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York.

Time Peace: The Rascals’ Greatest Hits, released in mid-1968, topped the U.S. album chart and became the group’s best-selling album. The same year, “People Got to Be Free”, a horn-punctuated plea for racial tolerance (the band was known for refusing to tour on segregated bills)[5] in the wake of the assassinations that year of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., became their third and final U.S. #1 single, and their sixth and final Canadian #1. It was also their final U.S. Top Ten hit, although they remained a Canadian top 10 act for the next few years.

The Rascals — “People Got To Be Free” (with an intro from Felix Cavaliere)

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